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Book Review: Body on the Bayou by Ellen Byron

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Body on the Bayou (Cajun Country Mystery, #2)Body on the Bayou by Ellen Byron

My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

After devouring the first book in the Cajun Country Mystery cozy series by Ellen Byron, I had to jump on the second, Body on the Bayou. It’s quickly becoming one of my new favorites series, and I definitely recommend it for other cozy mystery fans. Set in Louisiana on a plantation home converted into a B&B, the charming setting and characters truly invoke a wonderful southern atmosphere while sharing and spreading great history and relationships among the town of Pelican.

In this caper, Maggie is forced into serving as the maid of honor for a rival-turned-friend (Vanessa) from the last book. She and the groom’s family have been at odds for 150 years due to a curse one of them brewed up. When Vanessa’s extended family comes into town, she sticks them on Maggie as part of the responsibilities for the maid of honor. Unfortunately, a few of them turn up dead! Maggie tries to solve the case, grows more attracted to the new detective Bo, and determines who she really wants to be. Will she be able to help bring a long-lost family member back to the fold? Or will she get caught up in the downside of a wedding not meant to happen easily?

Byron is a talented writer with tons of humor ingested into dialog and narrative. It sometimes crosses the line into witty or stomach-cramping clearly showing great range in how to keep your readers invested and entertained. The pages are easy to follow, I digested this one in under 3 hours. It’s got 4.5 stars from me… the only reason I didn’t give it a full five was parts of the story were a little forced — nonetheless, it made for fantastic reading and shouldn’t worry anyone. This is a very solid series. I can’t wait to devour the next one in a week as I try to catch up on this awesome cast of characters so I can read the ARC for the latest one next month.

View all my reviews

About Me
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I’m Jay, an author who lives in NYC. My stand-alone novels, Watching Glass Shatter and Father Figure, can be purchased on Amazon as electronic copies or physical copies. The debut book, Academic Curveball, in my new mystery series, Braxton Campus Mysteries will fit those who love cozy mysteries and crime investigations. I read, write, and blog A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at https://thisismytruthnow.com, where you’ll find the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge –and multiple Readathons. You can also find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Thanks for stopping by. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators. Follow my blog with Bloglovin.

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Book Review: Plantation Shudders by Ellen Byron

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Plantation Shudders (Cajun Country Mystery, #1)Plantation Shudders by Ellen Byron

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Earlier this week, I was selected to receive a copy of the fourth book in this series. I had been meaning to try the series for a while, but couldn’t get out of the TBR slump. Since I prefer reading books in order when they’re part of a series, I had to order the first three and finish them before I needed to review the latest one. I picked this up yesterday and finished it within three hours. It’s a quick-n-easy read but full of wonderful characters, descriptions and scenes. I highly recommend the series and will definitely keep reading the rest.

Maggie split with her boyfriend of 6 years after running a successful business in NYC together. He finally proposed [to another girl!] and took the company away from Maggie, so she went home to Louisiana to figure out her next steps. Her family (parents and grandmother) run a B&B out of their plantation home– the nicest but also one of the last still standing. There is a long-time rivalry between her family and another, and unfortunately, the Chief of Police belongs to that other family. Oops, poor Maggie’s gonna have quite an uphill battle if she keeps getting pulled into the role of an amateur sleuth. When the detective on the case retires, a new one from a larger town in the state arrives to takeover… but he’s related to the Chief, part of the family who has a grudge against her, and is a smoldering man she dreams about. The series has a perfect setup and backdrop, and then in this initial book, several guests die while staying at the B&B. How are they connected? Who’s the murderer? And what’s the history that’s got someone all shook up to cause the ‘plantation shudders?’

Byron excels at creating ambiance. You can tell from her word choice and style that she’s been to Louisiana and experienced the culture. I researched her a bit and now understand her fascination with everything Cajun. My other half is from LA, so I’m very familiar with all Byron’s described, and she lives in NYC and writes for TV. We have lots of stuff in common, so it’s no wonder I adored this first book. It has everything I want in a cozy from humor to emotion, sarcasm to educational tidbits. The characters made me happy and angry, everything is believable, and I really felt a strong connection with the way the story unfolded. I can’t wait to read the next one this weekend!

View all my reviews

About Me
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I’m Jay, an author who lives in NYC. My stand-alone novels, Watching Glass Shatter and Father Figure, can be purchased on Amazon as electronic copies or physical copies. The debut book, Academic Curveball, in my new mystery series, Braxton Campus Mysteries will fit those who love cozy mysteries and crime investigations. I read, write, and blog A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at https://thisismytruthnow.com, where you’ll find the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge –and multiple Readathons. You can also find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Thanks for stopping by. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators. Follow my blog with Bloglovin.

Character Interview: Baxter the Shiba Inu Interviews Nana D from Academic Curveball (Braxton Campus Mysteries)

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Last week, Baxter interviewed Kellan Ayrwick, the protagonist amateur sleuth from the Braxton Campus Mystery series. This week, Baxter’s cornered Nana D, Kellan’s lovable grandmother and sidekick who is the queen of sarcasm in his world. If you’re unfamiliar with my latest book, Academic Curveball, it is currently available in electronic and physical format and officially launched on October 15th, 2018. You can buy or download it here. The second book in the series, Broken Heart Attack, will be available in December 2018. For now, let’s get on to the interview…

dd subheading (1)

 

***

Interviewer – Baxter

  • 7-month-old puppy who fancies himself a very smart canine
  • 22 lbs, black and tan, no job, rambunctious, acts like a frat boy
  • Likes
    • Biting, hiding under the couch, pouncing on you while you sleep, dominating other dogs, eating things he shouldn’t, running out the front door to escape, digging in flower beds
  • Dislikes
    • Vacuum cleaners, his harness and leash, bedtime, the cone after he was neutered, being neutered, the word ‘no’

***

Interviewee – Nana D (Seraphina Danby, Kellan’s Grandmother)

  • 74-year-old sarcastic widow running for mayor of Wharton County
  • 5-0, 100 lbs. wet mostly due to her long henna-rinsed hair, runs Danby Landing (organic farm), can be found baking all the time, wants to clean-up her hometown’s political situation
  • Likes
    • The old days, torturing her son-in-law, play-fighting with Eustacia Paddington, dating and dumping Lindsey Endicott, embarrassing Town Councilman Marcus Stanton, slapping people silly, setting up Kellan on blind dates, solving crimes, composting
  • Dislikes
    • Town Councilman Marcus Stanton, Sheriff Montague’s attitude, liars, red tape, being told ‘no’ for anything, people who are late, having her car taken away from her, rudeness, microwave ovens, anyone who copies her

***

  • Question 1: Kellan speaks highly of you. Why do you think people find you so funny and cool? You kinda look like a cross between that pyschic woman from Poltergiest and a hippie. Honestly, I’m not impressed. (Baxter)
    • I’m not sure I’ve ever talked to a dog before, especially one with a foul mouth like yours. Ever try some soap, puppy? I’ve got a good mind to wash that sarcastic tone right outta you. I’ll teach you this lesson once — I’m in charge. You do what I tell you to do. In return, I’ll bake you yummy treats, take you on walks without your leash if you promise not to run too far, and we can sneak attack Kellan while he’s sleeping. That boy’s one lazy grandson but I love ’em. As for why I’m so special, it’s the red hair. No one’s really able to get this shade of red anymore without those fancy salons. They think I’m pretty cool because I am cool. I see things as they really are and I’m not afraid to speak my mind.
    • Baxter’s Response:
      • I see. I do like treats. Maybe you ain’t so bad. We’ll give this a shot. Now how about you go make me some peanut butter biscuits with a hint of hickory and salmon?
  • Question 2: Why do you want to run for mayor of Wharton County? What makes you the best candidate? (Baxter)
    • I’ve lived here almost seventy-five years and saw this place through 11 mayors and 13 Braxton town councilmen. The two ramshackle bogeymen we’ve got in charge right now are as bad as that other hooligan representin’ himself as our country’s leader. You gotta stand up and fight for what you believe in. Set examples for the rest of this world. I’m an old-fashioned gal who believes in the golden rule. I’ll rule with an iron fist, be fair to all, ensure quality, stop fussin’ with people’s religion, preferences, human rights, etc. Everyone’s equal and should be able to do what they want as long as they don’t hurt someone else or break any of the laws. I want to focus on jobs, healthcare, community outreach, safety, the environment, etc. All the things government should be responsible for. Not deciding minor every day stuff that doesn’t fix the real problems.
    • Baxter’s Response:
      • While you sound genuine, I’ve never met a politician who actually did that. And by the way… “ruling with an iron fist” went the way of the pony express (as I’ve heard you say before) almost a century ago. That’s not how things are done anymore, Nana D. FYI – I’ll point out to the readers that Nana D yelled “pish” and held up a bar of soap when I said this. :O
  • Question 3: What’s this fight with Town Councilman Marcus Stanton all about? And is it true, did you really drop a load of manure on him during a barbecue? (Baxter)
    • That man is a fool! And would you quit asking two questions at the same time? You did that last time, too, puppy. I don’t like it when people sneak things in or out. Just be honest. That’s my problem with Councilman Silly Man, as I call him. That manure thing was simply an accident. My front loader malfunctioned and somehow it just happened to land on his head. Maybe it was fate. All I know is the dang machine started working properly right afterward. I guess it was a one-time glitch. Oops. As for our history, mind your manners. Didn’t your grandmother ever teach you not to pry into other people’s pasts?
    • Baxter’s Response:
      • It was at this point the old lady scooped me up off the floor and fed me some yummy apples from her orchard. They were pretty good, but I didn’t appreciate the woman-handling that’d just occurred. As for grandmothers, I never knew mine. They were both AKC show dogs who had their puppies and took off for greener pastures. I was raised by a loving woman in Kansas who shipped me to New York City of all places. Dads are both cool, but I need more space.
  • Question 4: What’s the deal with this Broken Heart Attack book, number two in the series all about Kellan’s life? (Baxter)
    • First of all, the series is all about me. Kellan’s just helping to balance out. It’s hard to take me 100% of the time, and I know it. I let the poor kid think this is his series. At 32, he still has some growing up to do. Broken Heart Attack nearly broke my heart. I lost a good friend in that one, she was a founding member of our Septuagenarian Club. But Kellan and I caught her killer and we will move forward in her honor. The King Lear play was a nice touch… it was a bit of a reflection on what was actually happening in the book. I wonder how much readers will pick up on the similarity of the plots.
    • Baxter’s Response:
      • Yeah, I don’t read. I’m a dog. I eat things. I lick things. I will watch the television. I like this show called Tanked where they build fish tanks. I get to watch fish swim around. Dad leaves it on when he goes to the gym so I have some noise and something to watch. I love it, but don’t tell him. He can’t know that I appreciate him a lot.
  • Question 5: Do you have any regrets in life? As you look back on it, I mean, knowing you only have a few years… (Baxter)
    • Shut your mouth, dog. I’m 74, not 174.  I’ve got at least another 26 years which is more than you. I don’t count that 7 to 1 dog year to human year ratio. So unless you want me to withhold your food for 2 weeks which is how I punish Kellan with desserts when he misbehaves, it’ll do you well, so CAN IT. That’s what the sheriff told me to do once, and well, she wasn’t happy with my response. As for regrets, I do… I wish I traveled a bit more. My daughter Deirdre is in England, a big fancy romance writer. I’m trying to get her to come home and visit us. She finally agreed, but apparently there’s some big news she wants to share. I have to wait until book 3 though… some author guy who thinks he knows better when he writes all about our lives has decided to keep that at bay. What a nutter!
    • Baxter’s Response:
      • I couldn’t agree more. That same guy does the typing for me on this interview since my paws can’t distinguish individual keys. You should see how many mistakes he makes. I have to edit everything he does! Well, this has been fun, but I have some birds to chase off the terrace. Thanks for being a worthy sparring partner unlike your grandson, Kellan. He couldn’t keep up with me last time.

 

*** LAST WEEK’S INTERVIEW ***

Interviewee – Kellan Ayrwick

  • 32-year-old single father who fancies himself an amateur sleuth
  • 5-9, fit, wavy dirty-blond hair, wears glasses, baby blue eyes, professor, TV show director, former frat boy
  • Likes
    • Desserts, daughter Emma, black and white films, the beach, sarcasm, Nana D, compliments, Top 40’s music, sleeping, puzzles, cozy college campus, solving cases before the sheriff
  • Dislikes
    • Fake people, Dr. Myriam Castle, Sheriff April Montague, bad weather, wearing ties, the supernatural or ghosts, shaving, weird Shakespearean quotes

***

  • Question 1: Who are you and why are you forcing me to interview you? (Baxter)
    • I’m Kellan, the main character in your owner’s latest mystery series. I had to leave LA for a quick trip to visit my small, secluded hometown in Pennsylvania for my father’s retirement from Braxton College. He was the president, and my parents forced me to come home. I left almost a decade ago because they can be very intrusive. Love ’em to pieces, but wow… talk about family drama!
    • Baxter’s Response:
      • Please do not refer to Jay as my OWNER. Jay is lucky I chose to come live with him. There are days when his helicopter parenting can be so bad, I want to lick him to death to get him to stop holding me back. And you don’t know family drama. My siblings were awful! They made me bite them all the time just to shut them up. I’m the quiet one. Grr…
  • Question 2: What can tell me about living in this Wharton County, Pennsylvania? I’m looking for more space as this box in the biggest urban center in the world is a little confining. (Baxter)
    • Wharton County is in north central PA near the NY border. It’s about 90 miles south of Buffalo and trapped between the Saddlebrooke National Forest and the Wharton Mountain range. It’s not a real place, but it is based on a bunch of different places Jay’s visited or lived in Pennsylvania. There are 4 major towns, and the one my family hails from is called Braxton. There’s a great college there, too, where many of my family members work, and it seems perhaps possibly me, too, in the near future. The best part of the campus is built across two different sections of the town and is connected by a really cool cable car system. Jay told me it’s based on where he went to college… do you know where that is?
    • Baxter’s Response:
      • Listen, Kellan… I didn’t want to do this interview, but since it’s been forced on me, remember I ASK the questions. You ANSWER them. Got that? From what I hear, everyone tells you what to do anyway, Kellan… between your boss Myriam, your grandmother Nana D, and that weirdo sheriff, you can barely breathe without someone torturing you. Stand up for yourself, man. Have a little bark and a little bite! WOOF!
  • Question 3: What happens in this first book? Should I plan to tell my friends about it? They do read in case you were wondering. We’re a smart breed. (Baxter)
    • I can honestly tell you this is the best book I’ve EVER been in. And I’m probably the funniest guy you’ll ever meet. It all starts off when I come home for what should’ve been a long weekend, but then there’s a murder. And my boss in LA makes me stay to cover it for our TV show. Then my family and a good friend are major suspects, so I’m forced to try to find the real killer. Nana D of course tries to set me up, but my wife has only been gone for two years, so I’m not quite ready. I had an awesome time at the baseball games learning all about the sport but when I thought someone on the team was changing their grades in order to play in the season opener, I knew I was on to something big. Little did I realize how much more complex it really was. Wanna know who the killer is?
    • Baxter’s Response:
      • One, this is the only book you’ve been in so far, Kellan. I know Jay wrote the second one, but he’s still editing it. It’s not real until he gives it to someone to read. I’ve had a look, and I can definitely tell you it’s AWESOME, but I might be biased. Although I was super annoyed with Jay for making me wear that cone of shame for two weeks after my surgery, having such a fantastic story with engaging characters helped pass the time quickly. GO BRAXTON CAMPUS MYSTERIES!!! RAH RAH! And two, no, don’t spoil it for me, you doofus. I think people should find out for themselves who killed someone. Duh!
  • Question 4: Do you know where Jay keeps the treats in this joint? (Baxter)
    • I’m not real, dog. How would I know that? I can’t see or hear anything outside of Braxton. You came here to visit me. You’re as bad as Nana D with these questions. Go take a nap, dog.
    • Baxter’s Response:
      • If you weren’t paying me to do this interview, I’d bite your face off. But I’m glad to see we’re both frat boys. Jay was one, too. I guess we have some things in common. Wait… now that I think about it, you’re awfully similar to Jay… what kinda sick twist of fate is this?
  • Question 5: Anything else you want to share before I go for a walk to get away from you and this tedious discussion? I’ve got some flowers to eat. (Baxter)
    • I’ve got tons of stories to share in the next few years. Jay’s helped me write lots of books and together, we’re planning at least 10 in the series. What I love the most is how he let me write them in 1st person, so the entire book is always from my perspective. I’ve got a really fun voice and way of talking about myself and others, so you’ll likely laugh a lot. I’m also a bit clumsy, like to complain, and am a really sweet but sexy guy. Sometimes I get a bit arrogant. Other times I behave a bit like a fool. But as I get older, things start to look pretty awesome from my position. I just can’t figure out what’s gonna happen in my love life, but you know there’s gotta be more than one woman after me based on what’s happened in that first book, right?
    • Baxter’s Response:
      • Kellan, your modesty knows no bounds. I’m sure any readers are already swooning rolling their eyes over it. Thanks for chatting today. I’ll leave you with a little surprise before I bounce.

***

Stay tuned for the next interview when Baxter takes on… NANA D. Here’s a quick snapshot of Nana D’s latest conversation with her grandson, Kellan, in book two set to be published in December 2018:

SCENE from BROKEN HEART ATTACK (Book 2 in Braxton Campus Mysteries)

As people filed out of the lobby and into the venue, the noise level grew more tolerable and I could freely move around without feeling every nook and cranny of every weirdo in the joint. First up was texting Nana D to find out who had my ticket and where I’d be sitting. If she put me next to some new Tinder date she blindly setup for me…

Me: Where are you? It’s like a blue-haired Neil Diamond concert in here today.

Nana D: More like a wannabe Lady Gaga gig. Don’t you know any current pop references?

Me: Given the number of septuagenarians, I assumed they wouldn’t know who she was.

Nana D: You know what happens when you ASS-U-ME, don’t you, Kellan?

Me: That was weak even for you. Epic FAIL! Where’s my ticket?

Nana D: Bite me. I left it at the Box Office. Wasn’t sure you’d show. Go get it. Now.

Me: Yes, Chief. On my way. You’re feisty today. Too much bran? Not enough veges?

Nana D: Pop a cork in it and get to your seat. You ain’t seen nothing yet, brilliant one. Just wait til I introduce you to…

***

Note from Baxter: In case you’re curious about the last introduction, Nana D has a habit of setting Kellan up with the weirdest women I’ve ever met. In the last book, we learned there was a two-time bigamist who Nana D thought might be Kellan’s future girlfriend. I’m kinda hoping to meet that crazy old woman one day. I hear she’s a real ball buster… hey wait… is she the one who took mine away when they neutered me three weeks ago!!! PAYBACK WILL BE MINE!

Academic-Curve-Ball-Promo-Hardback-Ereader

About Me
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I’m Jay, an author who lives in NYC. My stand-alone novels, Watching Glass Shatter and Father Figure, can be purchased on Amazon as electronic copies or physical copies. The debut book, Academic Curveball, in my new mystery series, Braxton Campus Mysteries will fit those who love cozy mysteries and crime investigations. I read, write, and blog A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at https://thisismytruthnow.com, where you’ll find the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge –and multiple Readathons. You can also find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Thanks for stopping by. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators. Follow my blog with Bloglovin.

Book Review: Death Distilled by Melinda Mullet

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Death Distilled (Whisky Business Mystery #2)Death Distilled by Melinda Mullet

My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

I read the first in the Whisky Business Mystery cozy series almost two years ago and adored it. I got caught up in other series and book reviews, but this fall, I’ve committed myself to catching up on many of my favorites. Enter Death Distilled, the second book in Melinda Mullet’s wonderful Scotland-based series. To start with, these covers are amazing! I want to move there and drink whisky all day long in my tartan.

The premise of the series is that Abi Logan’s uncle has passed away, and she inherits his whisky distillery. She struggles to make it successful in the first book, so she takes off to work her day job as a photo-journalist. Three months later, she’s back and finds a dead body. It turns out to be from 200 years ago, but then she’s asked to play sleuth for a sexy former rocker whose band mates have all died under odd circumstances. Is it his recently found daughter? A spouse of another band mate? A fan with a deadly crush? Or is he behind it all? So much fun trying to guess the culprit.

The backdrop is amazing. I love learning about the whisky business, Scotland, and photo-journalism. The dialog and accents are fantastic. The supporting characters, Patrick and Grant, are very cool. Patrick’s her gay best friend (a gorgeous catch) and Grant is her 49% co-owner who she sorta has the hots for… but he’s a typical Scot and not sure he can let himself fall for her yet. In the end, I can’t stop wondering what’s under the kilts!

If you’re a fan of non-American settings, this is definitely a series to start. This book delivers lots of suspects, great side stories, and propels the overall story arc forward. My only minor pet peeve is there is sometimes a disconnect with the characters where I can’t get on board that Abi leaves between books to do her other job… I’m on the fence, but never enough to stop reading… on to number three next month!

View all my reviews

About Me
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I’m Jay, an author who lives in NYC. My stand-alone novels, Watching Glass Shatter and Father Figure, can be purchased on Amazon as electronic copies or physical copies. The debut book, Academic Curveball, in my new mystery series, Braxton Campus Mysteries will fit those who love cozy mysteries and crime investigations. I read, write, and blog A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at https://thisismytruthnow.com, where you’ll find the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge –and multiple Readathons. You can also find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Thanks for stopping by. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators. Follow my blog with Bloglovin.

Book Review: The Church Murders by Lisa Reynolds

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The Church Murders (Rory Murphy Mysteries #1)The Church Murders by Lisa Reynolds

If you’ve every perused the list of books I’ve read, you’ll quickly notice I tend to read A LOT in certain genres, but I also have very broad ranges and try to sample from them all. When I came across The Church Murders, the first book in the Rory Murphy Mysteries, by Lisa Reynolds, it sounded like a unique story. I know the blogger from reading and reviewing similar books, so I decided to purchase this one on Amazon earlier this month. When I realized it’s only ~60 pages and a short intro to the larger story, I slid it into a very busy October reading schedule and completed it yesterday.

To start with, for the plot and setting alone, I would recommend the book. As the author’s first book in the series, she’s working through a few approaches to get them set where she wants them (I’ve been there before!) and I appreciate all the effort going into making her voice and style perfect. Our leading sleuth, newly thrust into the role, is a disabled young gay man living in Ireland and then England (I believe). We learn a little of his backstory which essentially consists of an accident that left him in a wheelchair and feeling as if he’ll never find love. Out at a pub, Rory and his friends discuss a recent murder that occurred in a church. Rory was secretly in love with his caretaker turned friend, but the guy has a boyfriend already. Fast-forward a few weeks/months, Rory’s met someone and is finally relaxing a bit except a few more murders have occurred. He’s compelled to investigate them and works with his friends only to discover the killer might be one of them.

So… given this is a short novella intro, I don’t want to spoil much more of the plot. It combines elements of religion, sex, revenge, doubt, and love. What I saw in this book is the potential for a really strong series surrounding Rory and his friends. It’s one of the few where I’ve found a leading gay man, a leading disabled man, and a no-holds-back approach to discussing religion in a mystery book. I really liked these aspects and look forward to sampling more from the author. Given how short the first one is, I can easily say it was fully packed with twists and turns. If the author expands into longer novels from here, I think it will work out really well. This was a good story, but it definitely leaves you wanting more drawn-out action… so I’ll be picking up the next one in the series in the upcoming months to see how things progress!

If you want to check out more on the author and her blog which always has great posts, reviews, and other fun things… find her on Facebook and WordPress through these links. Thanks for sharing these characters with us, Lisa. I look forward to more soon.

View all my reviews

 

About Me
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I’m Jay, an author who lives in NYC. My stand-alone novels, Watching Glass Shatter and Father Figure, can be purchased on Amazon as electronic copies or physical copies. The debut book, Academic Curveball, in my new mystery series, Braxton Campus Mysteries will fit those who love cozy mysteries and crime investigations. I read, write, and blog A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at https://thisismytruthnow.com, where you’ll find the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge –and multiple Readathons. You can also find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Thanks for stopping by. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators. Follow my blog with Bloglovin.

Book Review: Missing – The Lady Said No by Jacquie Biggar

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Missing: The Lady Said NoMissing: The Lady Said No by Jacquie Biggar

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I stumbled across author Jacquie Biggar via her WordPress blog and/or Twitter account and learned she had published a lot of books. I perused the list and chose this one based on my normal reading preferences leaning toward mystery and historical fiction. In this novel, part of a series or collection of books, we focus on foul play leading up to a 1950s Kentucky Derby event. I get to combine two of my favorite genres — how fun!

August Grant (Gus) is the detective who’s called to a plantation home when the owner is found dead. It appears as if the man shot himself, and his wife is beside herself. She’s also in the arms of the local sheriff. The two policemen face off over whether it was murder or suicide. Gus soon meets a staff member at the plantation and has an intimate connection to her in the past. He also learns a secret about the end of their relationship that could change the future. As he pokes around, something’s also amiss with the upcoming horse race and everyone is more jumpy or angry than ever. Gus keeps pushing until he learns all the information he needs to find the killer and fix a wrong in his own past.

The story is on the shorter side but makes for a great introduction to the author’s writing style and perhaps the series if you enjoy the characters. Biggar is descriptive but also very focused on the plot, which is always important to me. I enjoyed the layers of this one as it kept growing more and more complex as the pages flipped by. It’s an easy read, less than 2 hours if you’re focused, given how she draws you into the plight of a few characters and the actual mystery. Although it takes place in the 1950s, there isn’t a lot of detail about the time frame which can be both helpful and not helpful. If you’re looking for a deep southern connection from the past, it’s on the lighter side, but it also makes for a good foray into the exploration of life at that time. The details that tell you the time frame are hidden in the decor, word choice, and character actions. No computers, no cell phones, no automated way to track a killer. Just good old fashioned common sense and questioning. I like it!

I look forward to reading more from the author’s vast publications… perhaps pushing my boundaries on some genres and reading in a new one. Kudos to the author for creating a wonderful book with lots of potential to tempt and tease readers on all she’s capable of. She’s a USA Today Best-Selling author. See her website site.

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About Me
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I’m Jay, an author who lives in NYC. My stand-alone novels, Watching Glass Shatter and Father Figure, can be purchased on Amazon as electronic copies or physical copies. The debut book, Academic Curveball, in my new mystery series, Braxton Campus Mysteries will fit those who love cozy mysteries and crime investigations. I read, write, and blog A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at https://thisismytruthnow.com, where you’ll find the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge –and multiple Readathons. You can also find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Thanks for stopping by. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators. Follow my blog with Bloglovin.

Book Review: Christmas Cake Murder by Joanne Fluke

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Christmas Cake Murder (Hannah Swensen #23)Christmas Cake Murder by Joanne Fluke

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I am finally caught up on the Hannah Swensen cozy mystery series by Joanne Fluke. I finished reading Christmas Cake Murder, the 23rd of 24 books, published in the last year. The next one is in ARC form and I’m hoping to get my hands on it soon as I’d rather not wait until early 2019 when it’s formally published. Overall, I’d give it 4 stars as it had a lot of the traditional elements we normally love in these books, but the mystery was very different.

The book takes place before the first one in the series actually took place. It’s the beginning tale of how Hannah got started at The Cookie Jar. The story is a reflection on all the major characters we’ve come to love and shows us what happened when Lars, Hannah’s father, passed away. We also see how Delores reacted, what drove Andrea to become a real estate agent, and how Michelle was in high school. It was lots of fun and helped provide us with some wonderful and tender moments about this beautiful family.

It was also a bit repetitive for regular readers as we knew 25% of this content already. I can overlook that tho, as I like the setting and relationships. The other big piece of the book was a different sorta mystery where a local citizen, Essie, has an accident (truly, an accident) and is in the hospital. Hannah finds her journal and reads the book Essie had been writing. Is it about herself? Someone else in Lake Eden? Completely made up? We find out in the last chapter as the entire time we’re meandering along, we’re clueless, too. Once we find out, it’s nice closure for this book but doesn’t really connect to all the others in the series in terms of the mystery. Part of me was hoping to learn a fun fact about a new connection among the town’s inhabitants. I sadly didn’t.

That said, normal recipes look good. Everything else is spot-on. But it’s just a re-cap book with a little bit of new content… I judge it on that merit rather than give it a poor rating because it didn’t have a mystery. That was never what Fluke intended… and I’m glad I had this chance to read a bit more about Hannah’s younger years. It’s worth a read but not necessary to read in order. It could even be read first. Okay, off to find an ARC of the latest book. Wow… I completed another series (just about, don’t deny me this fact please – LOL)!

View all my reviews

About Me
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I’m Jay, an author who lives in NYC. My stand-alone novels, Watching Glass Shatter and Father Figure, can be purchased on Amazon as electronic copies or physical copies. The debut book, Academic Curveball, in my new mystery series, Braxton Campus Mysteries will fit those who love cozy mysteries and crime investigations. I read, write, and blog A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at https://thisismytruthnow.com, where you’ll find the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge –and multiple Readathons. You can also find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Thanks for stopping by. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators. Follow my blog with Bloglovin.